The Cooperative Enterprise and Leadership Program offers Manitoba high school students an opportunity to create their own student run cooperative business while gaining valuable hands-on leadership and employment ready skills.

The course uses a specialized course plan that teaches youth about the theory and hands-on skills needed to run a cooperative enterprise. The students apply the theory as they create their own cooperative enterprise and put on pop-up sales events. The students skills are than put to the test as they interact with customers, gain confidence and increase their leadership capacity.

Topics of the program include teamwork, communication, group decision-making, cooperative structure, entrepreneurship, governance, marketing and more.

The Cooperative Enterprise and Leadership Program is delivered in partnership with a series of partners:

  • The Manitoba Cooperative Association
  • A community partner organization
  • A host school or host community site

The three partner organizations work together to establish the schedule of the delivery of the program. Ideally the program is offered two days a week, two hours each day.

Pilot Project

In 2015/16 a pilot program was run at Children of the Earth High School (COTE) in partnership with the school and Supporting Employment and Economic Development Winnipeg (SEED). The program had 15 participants who attended after school classes twice a week, for two hours each day. The students learned about cooperative enterprise, leadership and business skills and together formed a project modelled after an art-marketing co-op called the abORIGINAL Student Cooperative Project.

The project markets the art of COTE students who are part of the art collective Omazinibii’igeg. Framed prints, limited edition prints, greeting cards, colouring books, calendars, magnets and bookmarks were just some of the items that were produced. Nine sales events were put on and the project saw over $6000 in sales. The profits were split between the members and the art collective.

The students also spoke at two conferences, attended a trade show and gained retail experience and knowledge of contracts while organizing sales at different shopping centres. The co-op project fulfilled several needs that were identified by the youth including work experience, money, confidence building and an opportunity to explore, connect-with and promote Metis and First Nations culture.

Want to get involved?

We are looking for community partners, host sites and funders that would like to get involved.

If your organization is interested or has any questions please contact us.


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